This is a top ten sound-a-likes stand off. Taken from all corners of the record cabinet, these tracks span through genres and decades, naming and shaming the most sinful musical thievery we could find. It’s only a laugh though, all (most) of the artists below are deservedly great so don’t panic, leave a comment below and add your own rock rip-offs to the list.
Killing Joke – ‘Eighties’ / Nirvana – ‘Come As You Are’
What better way to kick off than with this old chestnut? Killing Joke decided to take legal action against Kurt and the gang due to an uncanny riff resemblance between these two tracks. Luckily these accusations were put to bed soon after Cobain’s tragic death, and Dave Grohl ended up playing drums on Killing Joke’s 2003 album. No hard feelings.
Graveyard – ‘Hisingen Blues’ / Bubble Puppy – ‘I’ve Got To Reach You’
2.52 minutes in and Graveyard here decided to meltdown their rocking steez into the exact riffs that the wonderful Texan psyche band Bubble Puppy famously crafted for their ‘I’ve Got To Reach You’ track at 4.20. Graveyard’s ‘Hisingen ‘ tune was released in 2011, Bubble Puppy’s incredible ‘A Gathering of Promises’ was born back in 1969. Go figure.
Paul Weller – ‘Changing Man’ / E.L.O – ‘10538 Overture’
Weller is proven guilty here, nicking riffs of old and passing them off as his own like a musical magpie. This didn’t slip by Jeff Lynne’s radar unnoticed though. Allegedly Lynne tried to sue Weller, despite the fact that the riff in question bares striking resemblance to The Beatles’ ‘Dear Prudence’. So there you have it, both crooks, each with a silly hair do.
Elastica – ‘Connection’ / Wire – ‘Three Girl Rhumba’
It’s no surprise that Elastica made the grade for this list. The Britpop bunch famously pinched melodies from post-punkers Wire, specifically the main riff in ‘Three Girl Rhumba’, replicated on Elastica’s synths to provide the key hook in ‘Connection’.
Coldplay – ‘Yellow’ / Pavement – ‘Here’
Bit of a weird one here, I wonder if Chris Martin was getting really into his Pavement albums when he wrote ‘Yellow’.
Fugazi – ‘Place Position’ / Manic Street Preachers – ‘If White America’
Some schmuck out there would probably try and point the finger at the most resilient post-hardcore band going and say that one of their tunes sounds a lot like a song by that Welsh band Manic Street Preachers. But it’s not going to be us…
Chemical Brothers – ‘Setting Sun’ / The Beatles – ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’
It’s safe to say the Chemical brothers were influenced by ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, supposedly referring to it as their manifesto for their 1996 tribute ‘Setting Sun’. Both absolute crackers.
Puddle of Mudd – ‘She Hates Me’ / Suicidal Tendencies – ‘I Saw Your Mommy’
Who would’ve thought it, Puddle of Mudd pinched their most famous guitar hook from Suicidal Tendencies. Puddle of Mudd’s 2002 chart topper ‘She Hates Me’ uses a practically identical riff to that in the ’83 Tendencies track ‘I Saw Your Mommy’.
Green Day – ‘American Idiot’ / Dillinger Four – ‘doublewhiskycokenoice’
Dillinger Four supported Green Day on tour in 2001 shortly before the release of Green Day’s 7th album ‘American Idiot’ in 2004. Have a listen to D4’s 1998 track ‘doublewhiskeycokenoice’ and see where you think Billy Joe Armstrong got his inspiration from for Green Day’s Platinum single.
Green Day – ‘Warning’ / The Kinks – ‘Picture Book’
Another little naughty from Green Day here, that catchy bass-line was pilfered right from original Kinks bassist Pete Quaife’s fingertips.
The Cult – ‘Love Removal Machine’ / The Rolling Stones – ‘Start Me Up’
When Mick and Keith were busy rowing over whatever it was they were rowing about throughout the 80’s, The Cult snuck in through the backdoor and nabbed a copy of ‘Start Me Up’. Six years later they release ‘Love Removal Machine’. Luckily for The Cult, Mick and Keith are still too busy arguing to care but it all turns out OK in the end.